Travelling by plane for the 2024 Olympic Games

Travelling by plane to France for the 2024 Olympic or Paralympic Games? This article provides all the information you need concerning your rights. You are covered by Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 if you take off from an EU Member State, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland OR from a non-EU country with a European airline. If you take off from a non-EU country with a non-European airline, your rights are contingent on the rules laid down in the plane’s country of departure.

Attention!

Airspace will be closed on the evening of the Olympic opening (26 July 2024) within a 150 km radius of Paris. All the airports within this radius will be closed from 7:00pm until midnight. Contact your airline company if you have a flight arriving in or departing from Paris during this time.

Flights within the EU or with a European airline

Before confirming your booking, check your choices as you are not entitled to a 14-day right of withdrawalduring which to cancel a flight booked online.

  • Compare offers (free meal included, fees for check-in online or at the airport, additional luggage allowance surcharges, seat reservation, etc.) between different airlines and between the chosen airline and the booking platform.
  • Do not be swayed by reduced price offers or mention of the number of people consulting the same flight and the number of remaining seats.
  • Check the date of the booked flight, your first names, surname and date of birth.
  • Find out whether your luggage is included in the price of the ticket.
  • If you book several separate flights,give yourself enough time for the connections.
  • Check where the departure and arrival airports are in relation to your initial point of departure and your final destination, so that you can plan ahead for transport to and from the airport.

Watch out for hidden fees on airline tickets! In theory, airlines, travel agencies and intermediaries selling flights leaving from the EU must specify the final price (inclusive of all taxes) to be paid as from the start of the booking process. However, in practice, a number of hidden charges related to extra options can inflate the price of an airline ticket. These include cancellation insurance, additional luggage allowance surcharges, check-in at the airport and choice of seat number.

Ask your airline; some companies only allow certain breeds or certain types of animals (such as assistance dogs) on board.

Also ask about the conditions for transporting animals and the cost. Depending on its size and weight, your pet may be considered as excessluggage and will travel in a cage in the hold, or as additional carry-on baggage and can travel with you in the cabin in a carrier.

Pay attention to the time when you should arrive to check-in with your pet. If you fail to comply with the transport conditions, the airline may refuse boarding for your cat or dog.

Within the EU, a valid identity card or passport is required to enter and stay for a maximum of three months in a Member State. The airline may not allow you to board if you have an out-of-date identity card or passport.

In their general conditions of transport, many airlines stipulate other documents to be presented for boarding such as family record booklets or parental authorisations to leave the territory for French minors. Find out about this ahead of time!

If you are travelling from a non-EU country, you may need a visa. Further information here.

If your flight is still scheduled but you ask for your tickets to be cancelled as you cannot or no longer wish to travel (illness, death of a relative, etc.), your entitlement to a refund is entirely contingent on the conditions attached to your tickets.

If they cannot be amended or cancelled, refunds are not guaranteed.

Contact your carrieras soon as possible.

Tip: If you have taken out cancellation insurance, check whether the grounds for your cancellation are covered as each policy has its own specificconditions. Generally speaking, cancellation insurance covers events affecting you personally (health issue, loss of identity documents, cancellation of leave by the employer, etc.). It does not extend to restrictions on movement imposed by a government or the situation in the country of destination (political crisis, natural disasters, etc.).

If your flight is delayed by several hours, you are entitled to free drinks and meals at the departure airport, provided by your carrier, as well as two phone calls, two faxes or two e-mails. When the delay is so long that your flight cannot take off until the following day, you are also entitled to accommodation and transport between the airport and your accommodation. If you are not entitled to this assistance, ask the airline to reimburse you for these costs, providing supporting documents (invoices or receipts).

If your flight is delayed for more than 5 hours, you can give up on your journey and ask for your ticket to be refunded. Otherwise, ask for your flight to be re-routed to its original point of departure as soon as possible.
 

If the flight is more than three hours late on arrival, you are entitled to financial compensation calculated based on the distance of the flight:

  • €250 for flights of up to 1,500 km.
  • €400 for flights of between 1,500 km and 3,500 km.
  • €600 beyond 3,500 km provided the flight is at least four hours late (€300 for a delay of between three and four hours).

Please note that this compensation will not be paid if:

  • you were informed that your flight would be delayed at least two weeks prior to departure.
  • the airline is able to prove that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances (air traffic controllers strike, volcanic eruptions, floods, civil war, earthquakes, etc.).

A cancelled flight is one that was initially scheduled but did not leave. Theoretically, the cancellation of a flight involves a change of flight number, unlike a delay.

If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to free beverages and meals, and accommodation if your flight only takes off the next day. If these expenses are not settled by the airline, ask for a refund by presenting supporting documents (invoices and receipts).

The company will give you the choice between a refund of your ticket or another flight to your final destination under comparable conditions of carriage.

Lastly, you are entitled to compensation of:

  • €250 for flights of up to 1,500 km.
  • €400 for flights over 1,500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km 
  • €600 beyond 3,500 km.

Please note that this compensation will not be paid if:

  • you were informed that your flight would be delayed at least two weeks prior to departure.
  • the airline is able to prove that the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances (volcanic eruptions, floods, civil war, earthquakes, etc.).
  • the departure of the proposed replacement flight is brought forward by less than two hours or the arrival is delayed by less than four hours.

In the event of re-routing, compensation may be reduced by 50% if you arrive at the final destination with a delay below 2 hours (flights of 1,500 km), 3 hours (flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km) or 4 hours (flights of more than 3,500 km).

You must claim compensation for flight cancellation or delay from the airline.
Contact the actual carrier, i.e. the one that was actually scheduled to operate the flight. This may be a different airline from the one that sold the flight. On your booking, check the words "operated by/opéré par".
Use your airline's online contact form. Once you have filled it in online, take a screenshot to keep proof of your action.
If the airline didn’t provide the mandatory free assistance, also ask for your expenses to be reimbursed. Keep all your payment receipts (hotel, taxi, meals) while you wait for your replacement flight.
 

Overbooking is when passengers are unable to board the plane as the airline has sold more tickets than available seats.

If you are denied a seat on an overbooked flight and did not volunteer to postpone your journey, you are entitled to:

  • choose between a replacement flight to your final destination and a refund of your ticket.
  • meals, beverages, two phone calls, two faxes or two emails and, if necessary, accommodation and transfers between the airport and the hotel.  

If you have not been rerouted, you are entitled to compensation of between €125 and €600 depending on the distance of your flight (see above “What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?”).

Please note that if the airline refuses to board you on the grounds of health, safety or security or non-valid travel documents (presentation of a residency permit instead of an identity card), you are not entitled to assistance or compensation.

    • Immediately inform the airport that your luggage is missing at the desk of your last carrier airline or at the airport’s “baggage” desk. The airline must provide you with a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) number which you should keep as you will be asked for it in order to process your claim.
    • Keep all your travel documents: boarding passes, baggage check-in receipts, luggage label if you recover it.
    • If you receive your luggage late, you have 21 days as from receiving it to send a written claim to the airline and to request a refund for necessity purchases upon presentation of invoices. Use the airline’s online form.
    • If you do not receive your luggage, you are entitled to claim a refund for your lost property and suitcase by presenting purchase invoices (up to around €1,500 per passenger). If you do not have supporting documents, you may be offered compensation based on weight (approximately €20 per kilogramme).

    Further information on baggage issues.

    At the arrival airport, if you notice that your baggage has been damaged or destroyed during carriage, report the incident immediately to the airport desk. You can then ask the carrier to refund the price of your damaged suitcase and property. To do so, write to the airline within seven days of receiving your suitcase and provide as much information as possible concerning the property damaged during carriage (photographs, purchase invoices, etc.).

    The airline should compensate you up to approximately €1,500 per passenger (Montreal Convention).

    Further information on baggage issues.

    When you arrive in and depart from France, you must declare certain goods. But the rules differ depending on whether you are coming from a member country of the European Union or a country outside the EU. Depending on where you are coming from, you will not be allowed to bring back the same goods, and you may have to pay customs duties on certain goods when you leave for a country outside the EU: Customs: how does the traveler's check go? | Service-Public.fr

    To find out which goods are prohibited (drugs, counterfeit goods, endangered animal or plant species) or subject to restrictions (weapons, medicines), visit the French customs website. If you fail to declare your goods, the customs authorities may confiscate them and impose a fine.

    • From the point of arrival at the airport to the aircraft: you should be met at the information desk, be accompanied to the check-in counter, through the security, passport, and customs check to the passenger waiting area.
    • During the flight: On flights departing from an EU airport the air carrier has to provide certain services free of charge, e.g. transportation of wheelchairs or assistance dogs.
    • From the aircraft to the terminal exit or to another aircraft (for connecting flights): you shall be accompanied to the next aircraft (for connecting flights) or to the luggage claim area. Help in carrying the luggage to the designated point of departure must be provided.

    Tip: According to the EU Regulation, air passengers wishing to receive assistance have to inform the air carrier or tour operator at least 48 hours before departure. Also for transportation of electric wheelchairs or other mobility devices, the carrier has to be informed at least 48 hours prior to departure.

    Be aware that you might be unable to use your disability card from your home country to benefit in France from priority access or personal assistance. Such national cards from other EU Member States are currently not automatically recognised during a short-term stay in France. The European Commission has proposed to establish a harmonised European Disability Card but such a card won’t be available yet during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    In the event of a dispute with the airline, disabled and reduced-mobility passengers can report the problem to the French Directorate-General for Civil Aviation by e-mail at signalement-phmr-bf@aviation-civile.gouv.fr.

    After the Olympics, when you are travelling by plane back to your country, you should arrive early at the airport, especially if you are flying from Paris. From the 12 to 14 August 2024, airports in Paris will be crowded, due to the end of the Olympic Games.

    In order to have sufficient time to check in your luggage and pass through security checks, you should plan ahead your arrival at the airport. Contact the airline company you are travelling with to receive recommendation about the time you should arrive at the airport prior to the flight departure.

    • First, contact the airline or booking platform with which you ordered your tickets in writing. Retain proof of your correspondence.
    • If this effort proves unsuccessful, proceed as follows:

    - If you live in France, you can receive assistance from a consumer’s association, whose contact information is available on the DGCCRF’s website. You can also report your problem with the trader on the SignalConso website.

    - If you live in another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway, the European Consumer Centre for your country can help you. Visit the ECC Network website for its contact information.

    If you live in anon-EU country, contact the embassy or consulate representing the country from which you travelled in the country of the airline. You can also contact the members of consumersinternational.org.   

    Flights from a non-EU country with a non-European airline

    There are no general regulations protecting passengers travelling from a non-EU country with a non-European airline.

    Theoretically, the legislation of the country from which the plane departs applies. Find out about this ahead of time!

    • First, contact the airline in writing. Retain proof of your correspondence.
    • If this effort proves unsuccessful, proceed as follows: contact the embassy or consulate representing the country from which you travelled in the country of the airline. You can also contact the members of consumersinternational.org.

    Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.